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Faith, family, and food equals funny

By Paul Kandarian
April 22, 2012
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Michael Pevzner of Kingston knows what makes him laugh. And a combination of faith, family, and food tickled his theatrical funny bone enough to know he wanted to do a play with that theme.

That mix is the basis of “Over the River and Through the Woods,’’ a production of Nemasket River Productions that Pevzner is directing at the Alley Theatre in Middleborough Friday and Saturday, and May 4-5, with shows at 8 p.m.

It was written by Joe DiPietro (“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,’’), and is about Nick, a single Italian-American from New Jersey who wants to move away, snipping powerful Italian connections with his grandparents, who connive to keep him close.

“I liked it because it was funny,’’ said Pevzner, a seasoned actor and director retired from a 30-plus-year career as a professor and administrator in the theater department of Massasoit Community College in Brockton. “It has a setup ripe for situation comedy, in which the grandparents try to keep their grandson from moving away. You have a lot of banter and back and forth between the grandparents, all of them unique types, and the methods they use to keep their grandson from leaving are all humorous, including inviting a girl over that one of the grandmothers met in a market.’’

Directing keeps Pevzner’s hand in the theater game, where it’s been virtually his whole life; he has more than 80 plays and musicals under his belt. Growing up in New York City, he knew he wanted to be an actor, and attended the High School of Performing Arts (the basis for the old hit TV show “Fame’’). But after he graduated, he knew he wasn’t the only one aching to see his name in lights.

“I wasn’t sure I was that good then,’’ he said. “You’re with a lot of good people, and in New York, I met a lot of unemployed actors. I was seeing the down side of the business rather than coming in from Kansas all fresh-faced and excited, which actually may be the better way to do it.’’

The actors in “Over the River’’ are Alberto Rizzotti of Berkley, Beth Morrell of Randolph, Rolly Blanchette of Avon, and Jane Cartier of West Bridgewater.

Playing the role of Nick, the young grandson the grandparents anguish over, is Joey LaGreca of Plymouth. The love interest is Monica Saviolakis of Taunton.

For information, visit www.nemasketriverproductions.com or call 866-244-0448.

LOCAL WOMEN RELEASE NEW BOOKS: Kathryn Callahan of Plymouth has released a debut novel, “Gilded Greed,’’ and Kim Dwyer of Marshfield and Susan Reynolds of Pembroke have teamed up to write “Meditations for Mom,’’ designed to help working mothers balance jobs with raising children.

Callahan said her book is one of corruption, revenge and desire during one of the most divisive political debates of the Gilded Age, the renewal of the Louisiana Lottery in 1891-1892. She said the novel is set in the post-Reconstruction era after the Civil War when opulent self-indulgence defined the times.

Callahan is a former insurance executive and bed and breakfast innkeeper on Cape Cod, and calls herself an avid recreational historian who has visited New Orleans more than 30 times over the past 30 years.

She is now working on a second novel, “1918: A Baseball Story in a Season of Anarchy & War.’’ For information on her first book, visit www.kathryncallahan.com.

“Meditations for Moms,’’ according to its authors, offers time-efficient meditations that allow mothers to work mindfulness into their busy daily routines of working and raising a family.

“Women can have it all - career, family, satisfying personal relationships - but it does require some balance,’’ said Dwyer, mother of four and a yoga instructor and certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy practitioner.

The book, which comes with an audio CD of meditations, was written with Reynolds, who has written several titles on fulfillment and inner peace, including “Happiest You Ever’’ and “5-Minute Mindfulness.’’

Their book is sold at Dwyer’s workshops, including one going on now through early May at Dancing Crow Yoga Studio in Hingham.

For information on workshops and book signings, including two scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend at Barnes & Noble in Braintree and Hingham, visit www.southshorephoenixrisingyogatherapy.com.

STUDENT WINS NATIONAL AWARD: Anne Burke of Norwell, a sophomore at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, has earned national recognition for her art, taking a Silver Key in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards of 2012, presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

She was identified by a panel of professional artists as one of the most talented young artists in the nation.

This year, 200,000 works of art were submitted and 1,500 recognized at the national level.

Burke is invited to attend a ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City June 1 and participate in a number of events at the Parsons School for Design. Her untitled piece won a Gold Award at the Boston Globe Scholastic Art Show.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Robert McQuaid of Scituate has joined Amity Insurance Agency Inc. in Quincy as a property and casualty insurance producer.

Before joining Amity, he was chief financial officer with Pinnacle Partners LLC and Pinncon LLC.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at Kandarian@globe.com

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